Why I love being self-employed (Part 3)

They say a change is as good as a rest, and I get that change more often than most. Everyone is different, and for some people having their own class and their own classroom is the best thing in the world, but I thrive on variety.

I love the freedom of moving from class to class and from school to school. I really enjoy borrowing somebody else’s class for a short while, and spending time with lots of different children. I take great delight in seeing how other people set up their classrooms. I like not having to look at the same wall display for half a term. In fact I love seeing the creativity and flair that other teachers bring to their displays and being enthralled by a new one each day.

I’m lucky because I get the chance to teach the same objectives to different children from different backgrounds using ideas planned by different teachers, which gives me a real feel for what works and what doesn’t, so my teaching is constantly improving.

Yes, it’s sometimes difficult to have to break the ice in new staffrooms, but on the whole teachers are a friendly bunch. People often say that in teaching no two days are ever the same, and for me this is especially true.

Why I love being self-employed (Part 2)

How many people get to pick and choose the parts of the job they enjoy and not have to do the rest? Not many, but I’m one of the lucky ones. This year I have spent a big proportion of my week teaching languages which is my biggest passion. I’ve done mostly French, but also some Spanish, German, Latin, BSL, Maori, Italian and Portuguese. I felt really proud when one of my year 1 children sang a Latin solo in the Christmas play!

I’ve also undertaken a lot of 1-2-1 tuition, which I’ve really enjoyed. I feel very privileged to have been able to spend time working closely with under-achieving children in several schools, watching them grow in confidence as they realise that they can do it, and then watching them really take-off when they realise they can do it on their own.

And I’ve had all the fun of working on themed days. This term we had a water themed day (maths: how much water could you save in a year by showering for 1 minute less each day; English: debating whether or not water should be free; geography/PSHE: looking at countries where people don’t have access to clean water) and a 1960s day.

I don’t know yet what September holds, but I’m sure that whatever I do I’m going to love every minute just as much as I have this year.

Grandma

I’ve lost my Gran.
She’s still there,
I see her every Sunday.
She still sits in her favourite chair by the fire,
which is always on, even in summer,
because she says she’s cold.

Sometimes when she sees me, she smiles,
asks how I am and how my friends are.
We natter about the neighbours,
gossip and giggle.
We play her old wartime music,
sing along together
even though I don’t know the words.
We laugh.

But sometimes when she sees me she’s confused,
doesn’t recognise me,
calls me the wrong name.
That makes me sad.

Sometimes she’s scared of me, and that’s worse.
Thinks I’m a doctor come to put her in a home,
or a thief after her jewellery and nick-nacks.

Sometimes she shouts and swears,
has tantrums and throws things,
kicks and scratches, bites.
Then I don’t recognise her,
and that breaks my heart.

I’ve lost my Gran.
She’s still there, frail body in her favourite chair.
But in her mind she’s gone away.

Leaving Home

I’m in my room doing homework.
and I hear
raised voices in the kitchen,
glass shattering,
the radio being turned up,
footsteps on stairs,
wardrobe doors opening,
clothes hangers scraping on rails,
zipper on suitcase,
thud of case hitting wooden floor,
front door clicking shut,
wheels churning up gravel,
engine fading…

Silence…

Mum sobbing.
I can’t concentrate now.
My homework blurs, then smudges.
He didn’t even say, “Goodbye.”

Dad

My dad didn’t come home from work today.
Two men in dark suits knocked our door,
and mum cried.

The newspapers said he was a hero.
They said he was brave, saved lives.
They said he should have a medal.

My teachers said he was a great man,
and that I should be proud of him.

I am proud.
But not for the reasons you think.
I don’t know your brave-heroic-medal-earner.

I’m proud because he was my dad.
Because he read me stories when I was little.
Because he put plasters on my scratches.
Because he tickled me till I screamed for mercy.
Because he never missed my school plays.
Because he let me wear make-up.
Because he never approved of my boyfriends.
Because he helped me with my homework.
Because he believed in me.
Because I always knew he loved me.

You can keep your brave hero.
I’ll keep my memories of the real man.